• GP2, European Grand Prix, Race 1

Grosjean inherits feature race win

ESPNF1 Staff
June 25, 2011
Romain Grosjean took his second feature race victory of the season © Sutton Images
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Romain Grosjean won the feature race in Valencia to take the outright lead in the championship as Giedo van der Garde threw away victory.

Van der Garde recovered to second following a late drive through penalty, having been over five seconds clear of Grosjean at one stage. Davide Valsecchi finished third ahead of a close fight between Dani Clos, Sam Bird and Luis Razia.

The race got off to a predictable start, as contact between Marcus Ericsson and Jules Bianchi brought out the safety car. Ericsson had made a good start and was on the inside of Bianchi in to turn one, but as Bianchi changed his line he cut across the front of Ericsson and both ended up in the wall at high speed.

On the restart, van der Garde pulled away from Grosjean, while Sam Bird pressured Valsecchi for fifth before dropping back and coming under attack from Razia. Max Chilton pitted early and was quick on fresh rubber, coming out in front of Bird and Razia, but struggling to keep the pace and Bird got by down the inside in to turn two before Razia followed him through two laps later. Ahead of them, Luca Filippi was running close behind Clos but clipped the rear of the Racing Engineering car under braking for the hairpin and slid out of the race.

The yellow flag from Filippi's incident proved crucial as van der Garde was penalised for ignoring the yellows and handed a drive through penalty, relegating him to fourth place. But he underlined the pace that his Barwa had to quickly dispatch Clos and then cruise up behind Valsecchi. Passing the Caterham was easier said than done though, as Valsecchi placed his car perfectly lap after lap, holding van der Garde off to such an extent that Clos and Bird closed up behind them.

Van der Garde finally got by with two laps to go by feinting to the inside and returning to the racing line in to turn 17, leaving Valsecchi to outbrake himself. The final lap saw Bird and Razia all over the back of Clos, but neither man could find a way through despite running nose to tail through the final corners, eventually finishing with just 0.4s separating all three.

There was a big gap of almost half a minute to Esteban Gutierrez in seventh place, while Josef Kral finished eighth and will start the sprint race from pole position.